Uber Technologies Inc. will launch its in-app panic button feature on Feb. 11, the California rideshare startup said in a blog post on Thursday, after local media reports said that its app-based service would be barred in the western Indian city of Mumbai.
Uber had previously said its product engineers were working on such a feature, when it resumed service in the Indian capital of New Delhi after a temporary ban.
The ban of Uber and its local competitors in India, such as SoftBank Corp.-backed Ola Cabs, had been triggered by a complaint from a New Delhi passenger that her Uber cab driver had raped her in December. Rideshare firms have since worked with local authorities around the world to introduce more safety measures.
In addition to the panic button, which will alert local police to the cab’s location in an emergency, Uber will also launch a “Safety Net” feature on the same day. The feature allows a passenger to share her route and expected time of arrival in real-time with up to five friends and family members who can be saved as emergency contacts on the app.
Uber, which has raised billions of dollars in funding is looking to expand aggressively in Asia, where it is seeing strong competition from local rivals such as Ola Cabs in India, KuaiDi Dache in China and GrabTaxi in Malaysia. Japan’s SoftBank has emerged as a major backer of Uber’s local rivals in Asia.